|—||Mario Batali, on The Chew|
Pasta is the ultimate store-cupboard staple – a dash of olive oil, some parmesan, a few finely chopped anchovies and you have a delicious dinner. We make our pasta from scratch in my restaurants but I don't have time to make it at home, so I go for brands such as De Cecco or Barilla, whose pasta is bronze-extruded (which improves the texture).
Pasta comes in hundreds of different forms, but does it really matter which sauce is paired with which shape? It is mostly a matter of personal preference, but here is my advice on how to get the best out of some common – and a few less familiar – pasta shapes.
Spaghetti Always drain the pasta around 20 seconds before the end of the cooking time, because it continues to cook as it cools. Serve it with a hot sauce – clams, or garlic with chilli are both perfect. The one thing I would never serve with spaghetti is bolognese: I just don't think they go together. Spaghetti works better with olive oil-based sauces that coat it rather than drown it.
Linguine This is flatter than spaghetti, so absorbs more of the juice, and, like spaghetti, goes best with oil-based accompaniments. I also love it with prawns, fresh tomatoes and chilli.
Fettuccine I have seen good dry fettuccine on sale in both Waitrose and Carluccio's, but it is much better fresh. Just cook for a minute or two, until it rises to the surface. It is best with bolognese – or, as the Italians call it, ragú. I also like mine with a creamy sauce: reduce your cream, then add some cooked ham and peas.
Ditalini These tiny pasta shapes are a real favourite of mine. When I am feeling rough, I find that nothing helps quite as much as a handful of ditalini cooked with a stock cube for an easy, warming broth.
Farfalle This goes well with anything chunky. I usually serve it with vegetables such as peas, broad beans and mint; sautéed aubergine, tomato and a pinch of cumin; or roasted courgettes, garlic and a dash of cream.
Rigatoni I have always thought of rigatoni as manly, for some reason. I'd put it with a good, thick, meaty sauce.
Penne This classic shape is great with a tomato-based sauce, a meat sauce, or pesto.
Orecchiette This originates from southern Italy, where pasta is cooked without egg (using just olive oil, wheatflour and water), which makes it whiter. It is delicious served with tender-stem broccoli, garlic and some grated, dried ricotta, or in a cold pasta salad. Make sure you season your pasta salad with vinaigrette while it is still hot: if you do it when it is cold, it won't absorb as much flavour.
And on a side note....
Italian Food by Shel Siverstein
Oh, how I love Italian food.
I eat it all the time,
Not just ’cause how good it tastes
But ’cause how good it rhymes.
Insalata, cremolata, manicotti,
Shrimp francese, Bolognese,
Fried zucchini, rollatini,
Fettuccine, green linguine,
Oops–I think I split my jeani.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Check this out: Know Your Pasta
“There’s two kinds of people: Italians and people who want to be Italians.”
Posted by Italian Postcards at 3:06 PM